Sandown Community Orchard

We’ve been looking after this one since way back in 2003. This little site just off the busy cycletrack is a fantastic place to picnic, pond-dip or go scrumping.

This compact wetland site and orchard is a beautiful, tranquil spot but also a haven for wildlife. Gift to Nature has restored a community orchard on the site which you are welcome to visit and scrump in the autumn – we have included Isle of Wight fruit varieties including the Alverstone Apple. The orchard also provides a great nectar source for insects in the spring and food for other wildlife later in the year. The rest of the site is a mixture of wetland, woodland and a pond. There is a boardwalk across the wettest section of the site and a viewing/dipping platform by the pond.

What to look and listen for …

Kingfishers are known to hunt along the waterways here, so look out for that emerald flash! The pond is a haven for dragonflies and damselflies in the summer. If you stick your net in you may find sticklebacks, water scorpions, diving beetles and whirlygigs. Bright yellow irises grow around it between May and July.

In the orchard we frequently see a squirrel when we visit, and when looking up in the trees see if you can spot the tree-creeper or a hear a noisy flock of long-tailed tits. Thank you David Moorse for these wonderful photos.

See the species list found at the All Along the Riverbank event on 1 May 2017.

… and smell and touch

Smell the sweet smell of meadowsweet in summer.

Feel the weathered wooden fruit, and please help yourself to fruit from the orchard. Have a pond dip.

Trains, Water and Sandy Thomas

A fantastic bunch of local people have helped us to piece together the history of this site. It makes a fascinating read, so if you would like to know more, please click here.

Nature at home and activities on site

We have produced a super Colouring Sheet for you to download and complete at home. We have also produced an I Spy Sheet and Map for you to print at home, or download to your phone and take to the site. And become a Bug Bunch Ranger. All these activities and resources can be found here.

Managing the site

The pond and waterways need clearing occasionally. The orchard area is mown annually. We are trying to keep the orchard in good order, but any help with pruning the trees will be welcomed!

This site has had various names that are all quite similar: Sandown Wetland and Community Orchard, Sandown Wetlands, Sandown Wetland and Community Walk, and others. So in 2018 we took a survey to see what people wanted to call the site – including the opportunity to call it something completely different – the result was a clear vote in favour of Sandown Community Orchard. So that’s what it is now.

In 2017 thanks to National Lottery players, we were awarded £8000 to spend on a boardwalk, new seats, a board telling the story of the site and improved the hedge. We also removed some of the scrub in the orchard to make it larger.

In 2023 we were awarded Access Funds from Isle of Wight AONB to improve access in the orchard.

How to get there

On foot and by bike – The site is right on The Red Squirrel Trail (NCN 23) at Longwood Lane. You can walk into the site from the cycle track (through the carved arch) or from Longwood Lane. Bridleway SS47 goes by the south side of the site. There are cycle racks within the site.

By train and bus – The site is a half mile walk from Sandown Station.

By car – Informal parking is possible on the verge opposite the site, please take care not to obstruct the road or any site entrances.


In winter the wetland part of the site can become very wet and muddy, and at times is completely submerged. The orchard is on higher ground and can be accessed year-round. The orchard has a wide gate which is accessible for mobility scooters and there is a chipping path to the picnic area, which has a picnic table suitable for wheelchair users. There are steps on site. The wetland area will not be accessible by everyone because of steps, a narrow bridge and a boardwalk.

There are no toilets anywhere near this site. The nearest toilets are in the town of Newport.

We have written an Access Statement for this site. This includes mobility and sensory issues and opportunities. We welcome feedback from users.

We have produced an audible description creating a mind’s eye view of the area to allow a visually impaired person to enter with confidence. It will describe the entrance, the size of the area, where to find further information or help and any major obstacles or features. Information has been produced by visually impaired people ensuring it is useful and accurate. Access the description by scanning the QR code to the left of this text on your phone or tablet, or by clicking here.

Get Involved

There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on conservation volunteers to help with many tasks and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Find out more here.

You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up here